Planning a gala event can be a rewarding experience. Choosing the best theme for the event is an important first step in planning. A theme is what dictates many other decisions including venue, menu, decorations, activities and favors. Determining the best theme for the gala can be a challenge. Consider the number of guests, the purpose behind that gala and the desired image when deciding on a gala theme.
Formal themes invite guests to put on their best attire and act in a sophisticated fashion. High-end events may be more expensive than their more casual counter-parts, but are more appropriate for some occasions. There are many themes that can fit into a sophisticated, formal theme. A theme that is centered on a specific gemstone or a combination of two gemstones can be formal in nature. A diamond and pearl theme can incorporate a white and cream color scheme. Use white table cloths with pearl colored table runners. Wrap pearl garland around a large crystal vase full of white and ivory-colored flowers and scatter clear rhinestones on the table. Black and white is another formal theme. Ask guests to dress in black and white and use black and white decor to decorate the gala venue. Hire a limousine service to coordinate transportation.
Casual galas encourage a relaxed atmosphere. Guests can dress in business casual attire and focus more on conversation and relationship building than on their appearance. An African-themed event can inspire an array of colorful and unusual decorations. Use a palette of earth tones and decorate with natural items. Hang African maps on the walls and use genuine African wood carvings as centerpieces. For a Hawaiian-themed gala, have guests dress in Hawaiian-style clothing and serve Hawaiian luau food items. Hold activities, such as learning to hula dance or trying to limbo.
A whimsical themed party is pleasure to plan and attend. A whimsical event may include themes inspired by literature, pop culture and the world of fantasy. "Alice in Wonderland" is a whimsical theme that can include a wide variety of colorful and crazy decor items. Create large mushrooms out of papier-mache and paint them red with white polka dots. Cluster mushrooms in the corners of the venue and use smaller ones as table centerpieces. Hang large playing cards on the wall and invite actors dressed as "Alice in Wonderland" costumes to stroll the party. "Fairies" are another whimsical theme. Create a garden setting at the gala venue and tuck small fairy dolls on leaves and inside flower buds. Have a few costumed fairies greeting and entertaining guests.
Other Gala Themes
Other gala theme ideas include those inspired by a time period such as the Victorian era or the Old West. An Old West theme could include images of horses and cowboys and centerpieces made from old lanterns. Other theme ideas can come from hobbies such as golf or sailing or could include out of this world ideas such as a space theme. A space themed gala could include plenty of black decorations, some silver stars hanging from the ceiling and a large crescent moon dangling above a buffet table or dance floor.
Stephanie Kelley has been writing articles and columns online for SGM Radio and SGN Scoops Digital since 2005. She has a Bachelor of Arts in art history/anthropology from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash. and writes on a number of topics including art, frugal living, children and travel.